Shockproof @Locarno75

This year’s retrospective is dedicated to german born filmmaker Douglas Sirk. The french and the swiss cinematheque joined forces and made it possible to show the whole oeuvre of Sirk, who was born Detlef Sierck and worked in Germany before emigrating to the US during the Second World War. He was much admired by the French New Wave, as well as by directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Bernardo Bertolucci.

Patricia Knight as “Jenny” in «Shockproof» (US 1948)

I started by watching «Shockproof» a film from 1948 shot in the US before Sirk became a regular director for Universal Studios. The film narrates the story of Jenny, who is on parole after serving five years of Prison. Her supervising officer falls in love with her and he proposes to her. They spend some happy months together and she takes care of his blind mother. When her former lover reappears she feels threatened and shoots him. The lovers become refugees and try to escape over the Mexican border.

Cornel Wilde and Patricia Knight make a classy Hollywood couple: An italian-looking, muscular officer and his blonde lover. Samuel Fuller’s script was reworked by Columbia and a happy ending was imposed by Helen Deutsch from the studio. This melodrama is a typical example of what Douglas Sirk is known for and even though it isn’t considered one of his masterpiece a lot of his style is already present in that film.

Patricia and her former lover Harry in «Shockproof»

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